Sarah Millican shares her new format ideas for America’s Next Top Model

"Tyra and co - never read out insults to children"


I love social media. It’s often the first thing I do when I wake up. My phone is usually charging beside me (unless I’m in a hotel where I have to plug my phone is over there and subsequently get out of bed to turn the alarm off, rubbish) and before I’ve even done my first wee, I’ve checked Twitter and Facebook. That, in and of itself, is horrific. Have a wee, woman. Kiss your partner. Stroke a cat. Eat a Twirl.


But I’m addicted, I suppose. The main benefits of social media for me are the following:

1. Chatting with friends and colleagues. It’s a quick and easy way to keep in touch.

2. Direct contact with fans. Feedback and also keeping them up to date on what I’m up to.

3. Finding out what’s going on. Less “The News” and more, which friend’s birthday have I missed, photos of dogs looking ashamed and who’s having what for their dinner. Or pictures of birthday dogs having their dinner.

The downside is clear too:

1. Less actual contact with friends and colleagues. It’s much more fun to sit in a café with a mate and giggle over a hot chocolate.

2. Direct contact with everyone. Including those who hate you, don’t rate you and can contact you any time to tell you so.

3. Being distracted by loads of fluff and losing time that could better be spent working or relaxing. Or playing with your actual dog whose birthday it is.

It was on Twitter that I found out that the new series of America’s Next Top Model had started. And I was actually in the right place for once. On my sofa, in my comfies with the partner at work. He actually doesn’t mind watching it but the questions are a nuisance.

“Who’s presenting it now?” “It’s still Tyra” “But this last has different hair” “It’s still Tyra, she’s just changed her hair”. Or “Is that girl doing two photoshoots?” “No, you’re mixing her up with the other blonde one.”

But when I tuned it, I was horrified. I know the makers of the show like to mix it up a bit, but this series, the fourth judge is the public. This I do not get. I understand how it’s good to see that singers are popular but models don’t need to sell albums and tours.

Models only need to be popular with designers and magazines and ad agencies. At least if the public were just voting yes or no, that wouldn’t be so bad. But no, they get to comment on a Facebook page and those comments get read out to the models in front of the judging panel. It’s turned from a fun modelling competition to a test of how many insults you can hear about your face and body before you start crying. Watching these fragile bairns hear unconstructive criticism is not television.

If Tyra and co want to mix things up, then here are my suggestions:

1. Keep Tyra’s hair the same please.

2. Have they ever done just male models?

3. What about older women?

4. How about a cycle of just plus-size girls (their plus size is like a 10 or 12 but it’s a start)?

5. Then maybe some normal-sized girls. You have the power, Tyra. Use it well.

6. Never again read out insults to children.

I will probably continue to watch it but turn it off at the judging bit. Then try to guess who was booted off at the start of the next episode. And which ones are a little more damaged by the process.

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The Sarah Millican Television Programme — Best of Series 1 & 2 is available on DVD at